iOS Game Suggestions Wanted
July 16, 2019 1:29 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some new games my kid might enjoy on an iPad he has access to. Specifically, I'm looking for games that (a) an elementary school aged kid could play, (b) don't have ads (I'm willing to pay for that), and (c) aren't a fremium model of play. So what favorites do you or your kids have right now that fit the bill?
posted by noneuclidean to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Early or late elementary? There is a big difference between a 6 year old and a 12 year old, right?

Toca Boca is notorious for having great apps that kids love.
posted by k8t at 1:37 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


You know how ads promise fun games that teach stuff, but they are either clearly teaching stuff (so the kids won't play them) or don't actually teach much? Dragonbox apps actually do what is says on the box; math apps for various ages and a chess app. The alegbra app is especially impressive.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 1:45 PM on July 16 [2 favorites]


My son loved Stack the States. I'm not sure if it had ads though.
posted by lyssabee at 1:51 PM on July 16


All of these are games you pay money for and don't do the freemium ad business, but I'm not sure which ones would be suitable at which ages. For instance, my niece loved playing Don't Starve and Stardew Valley with me, but it was complicated enough that it was best when I played with her.

Road Not Taken -- beautiful puzzler game
Don't Starve (also has a Shipwrecked version) -- rogue-like wilderness survival game
Mini Metro -- beautiful abstract subway puzzle game
Donut County -- a game about eating everything with holes
Cook, Serve, Delicious -- time management game about running a restaurant, you have to make the meal orders
Stardew Valley -- farm RPG
posted by foxfirefey at 1:54 PM on July 16 [4 favorites]


Oh!

Suburbia is a board game also available on the iPad. You might have some look looking up other board games and seeing if they iPad versions that aren't freemium.
posted by foxfirefey at 1:59 PM on July 16


Do they like puzzles? Hoplite is a fun little puzzle game that will stretch their problem solving skills. You basically hop over enemies to defeat them on a grid and get other abilities, it's not bloody or anything. Costs $3.

Hungry Cat Picross is another puzzle game that I loved. It's free. Has in-app purchases but none of them are required to progress, I think they are just like extra hints that'll fill in some blocks if you're stuck. But it's never not solvable. Starts very easy but may quickly eclipse an elementary kids attention or ability.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 1:59 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


I looked it up and HexCells, which I play on my laptop and figured would be portable is and it doesn't look freemium or ad based! There's also HexCells Infinite--these are both logic puzzles like Minesweeper.
posted by foxfirefey at 2:04 PM on July 16


Noodles is a great game, worth the $2. You simply rotate the pieces to make the pipeline pieces align. There are SO MANY levels and puzzles. I've been playing it on and off for years and still haven't finished any of the levels.

I picked it up again recently, and it was so refreshing to just play without any ad interruptions!
posted by hydra77 at 2:29 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


My nephews were big fans of Bad Piggies, the Angry Birds spin-off, before they got sucked into Minecraft. In both cases they loved the building aspect and the capacity for mayhem.
posted by ejs at 2:48 PM on July 16


Tiny Bang Story is not free for the full version, but well worth paying for.

Also if that is the kind of thing that appeals, Amanita Design does quirky and beautiful wordless games. Botanicula is my favourite but Samorost 3 and Machinariumare also good, haven't played the latest yet.
posted by Athanassiel at 9:04 PM on July 16


Seconding Toca Boca games - all of them! My kid started playing them at 5 years old or so and still plays them at 10.
posted by nkknkk at 5:35 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


My daughter loved the two Monument Valley games.
posted by neilbert at 9:05 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


How much of a reader is he? The iOS game I recommend to basically everyone is 80 Days, which is a lovely interactive novel where you play Passepartout guiding Phineas Fogg around a de-colonized version of the world in a steampunk setting. Immense replay value and it encourages reading and geography skills without being explicitly educational.
posted by zeusianfog at 10:51 AM on July 17


I've played and enjoy Ticket to Ride -- the iPad version is pretty good and I like that the app takes care of all the scoring. If you're not familiar with the original board game, it's pretty quick to learn. It's a strategy game where you build railway lines on a map. For the iPad version I've only played the solo games against the AI; there is also a multiplayer mode where you can play against other people online, and a pass-and-play mode too.

The iOS app tutorial is not the best at explaining the rules; I recommend checking out the rule/point sheet PDF as well (it's downloadable from the official site). There are some nice expansions/other maps that can have more complicated rules and components; for elementary school kids I recommend starting with the regular Ticket to Ride title (continental USA with a few Canadian cities). This has a 4+ age rating on the app store.

I also like Alto's Adventure which is a beautiful solo snowboarding game with a great soundtrack, too. I am not a snowboarder at all and I found it very addictive and calming. I got into it thanks to a recommendation from jessamyn in a MetaFilter podcast episode. This has a 9+ age rating on the app store. As a player you can't literally die in the game, but there are some places where you can fall or be knocked off your board etc. and may have to start over from the beginning of the run.

There's a follow-up game, Alto's Odyssey which I haven't played personally yet but I've heard really good things from other folks.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 9:15 PM on July 17


Also meant to say that Alto's Adventure has a "zen" mode where you can just snowboard across the lovely scenery, listen to the great score, and not play for points; even if you crash you can just get up and keep going. I've found it super calming.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 9:21 PM on July 17


damn you all I did not sleep last night and now have to block yet more games
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 5:42 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


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